Sitting on the back veranda of their property, Shelly and her husband Mark can't help but smile as they talk about their journey as respite carers with St Saviours.
Already parents of a teenage son, they wanted to do more to help vulnerable young people.
St Saviours is a provider of foster care services in the Blue Mountains and they are urgently seeking local families who have a heart to help children and give them a future full of hope.
St Saviours is looking for individuals and families who can provide emergency care, short term care, permanent care for children who cannot return to their families and respite carers which involves caring for a child or young person on an occasional basis.
Respite care usually occurs over weekends or school holidays and is planned in advance.
"[Respite care] is something we wanted to do for a while," says Shelly.
"We knew there were a lot of children who were in situations where they weren't receiving the care and attention that they needed... We felt this was something we could do together with passion and commitment, and we felt like respite care was going to be our best option."
Respite care fits in with Shelly and Mark's lives, allowing them to plan and give focused time and attention to the teenage boy they care for one weekend a month.
"We like to go for bike rides," says Mark. "The physical [activity] really helps to settle him and is really good for [helping him] cope with anxiety..."
Despite not being fulltime carers, the couple are delighted to see that their decision is making a difference in a young person's life, and recommend the option to others interested in becoming carers.
Looking for precious moments of connection and healing is what motivates Mark and Shelly, with Mark recalling a recent incident when the young person thanked him during a challenging bike ride.
"I asked him why he was thanking me," says Mark. "He said he was thanking me for encouraging him."
St Saviours is looking for all types of foster carers in the Blue Mountains region to provide supportive and safe homes for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents.
The team at St Saviours are passionate about supporting people with every step of their foster care journey.
Find out how you could make a difference in a child's life by becoming a foster carer, visit stsaviours.org.au or call 9612 3900.
St Saviours also hosts online foster care information sessions each month where the team shares details of what foster care involves, the different types of care and if foster care is a good fit for your family.
To enquire, visit the website at stsaviours.org.au